“Over the last two decades, Ireland has built a global reputation for being a leader in cybersecurity”, explains Misha Glenny, security expert. The world’s leading security software companies are well-established in Ireland including Symantec, McAfee, IBM and Ward Solutions. Alongside these multinationals, Ireland’s own cyber firms have emerged as international players, such as Dublin’s PixAlert, Galway’s NetFort and Kilkenny’s CipherTechs.

Cyber Skills Gap 

However, there is a global cyber skills gap and according to the Global Information Security Workforce Study, this gap is projected to reach 1.8 million unfilled roles by 2022. Research conducted by CyberEdge found that 9 out of 10 respondents indicated a shortage of IT security talent at their organisations. This is in accordance with the latest report from ISACA.org who found that almost 3 in 5 (59%) of organisations have unfilled cyber or security positions and more than half (54%) say that it takes 3 months or more to fill such a position. The reason for this could be attributed to a lack of access to cybersecurity education, recruiting requirements for people with certain certifications and specialised technical skills.

Ireland's Approach to Combatting the Cyber Skills Gap 

The Technology Ireland ICT Skillnet conference in Dublin, “Filling the Cybersecurity Skills Gap” heard that no one measure will be successful in addressing the skills gap, as security skills initiative launched at the beginning of October. This initiative will target 5,000 people to be trained in cybersecurity skills, with a further 1,500 having skills certified. In the 2019-2021 timeframe, 1,000 companies will be targeted for an awareness programme with 4,000 for skills development. James B Alvilhiera, worldwide sales leader and cybersecurity expert stated that “Ireland is not unique in having a skills gap, they are unique because they have a government addressing it and putting money behind the policy”.

He also stated that universities must also cope to keep up with the speed of change in the industry and fix the cyber skills gap by turning the usual 4 years into 16 weeks to begin to produce people with immediately applicable skills. Although universities are not currently providing these condensed courses in Ireland, the Institute of Technology, Carlow, one of the largest technology colleges in Ireland, created the country’s first BSc in Cybercrime and IT Security in 2016 while the Cork Institute of Technology now offers a master’s degree in Information Security and has close ties with firms in the Cork cyber cluster. However, interestingly the director of Product Management at ProtectWise, Kacy Beitel states that you don’t have to have a degree in cybersecurity or an abundance of certifications to land a job in the field.

Carmel Somers, organisation psychologist and talent manager for IBM and the chair of the Cybersecurity Skills Initiative (CSI) concludes that to combat the cyber skills gap, businesses first need to acknowledge that a cyber skills gap, particularly in cybersecurity, is a business issue and not an IT one.

If you would like to pursue a career in cybersecurity, we have a number of roles available. Alternatively, if you would like more information about the roles we have on offer, give us a call on 01 571 3000. 

Written by Michelle Young 


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